Ars Technica: ‘Matthew Peterson, public avenger’

“You may have heard of Matthew Peterson, the individual behind the now infamous (and defunct) website Matt is done complaining about his broken nano screen (now that Apple has given him a replacement) and has moved on to bigger and better things. Mainly harassing innocent Apple store employees about issues out of their control,” Clint Ecker writes for Ars Technica. “Matthew posted this excerpt on his website on 9/25/05 and while I think Matt might have had a legitimate complaint behind his LCD problem, his rhetoric and over the top attitude about the whole thing really shine in this little ‘sting operation’ he pulled.”

Ecker provides an excerpt from Peterson’s website:

Well I had gotten a few emails from people saying that the Nano’s in their local Apple store were severely scratched. I couldn’t believe that Apple would have scratched models on display. I have never seen a scratched iBook or PowerBook, so I decided to investigate for myself. There were several Nano’s on display. The one nearest me was a white model that looked like someone had taken a steel wool pad to the screen. You could barely see the LCD underneath through all of the scratches. When Amanda was finished speaking to a customer I started asking her questions. It went a little something like this:

Matt: This iPod looks really scratched. How did this happen?

Amanda: Well we have had thousands of people handling them.

Matt: This happened from people just touching it? They weren’t rubbing them on something or putting it in their pocket? Is it really this easy to scratch?

Amanda: Yes it can scratch easily but I don’t think that really matters.

Matt: Well most people buy an iPod for the look. You don’t think they are concerned with an iPod that scratches this easily?

Amanda: No, I mean I have an iPod for the music not how it looks, but if someone is concerned about scratching we do sell cases for them.

Matt: I have seen some sites on the internet where people complain of scratching and cracked LCD screens. Has your store had any returns for this problem?

Amanda: No it is still a new product. I don’t think we have had any returns yet.

Matt: So you sell a product that scratches easily, so that you can sell a case. That is a pretty good marketing strategy

Amanda: Well, that’s how they get you.

Matt: Interesting. May I have your card?

Amanda: Sure

Matt: By the way, I run a website that is collecting information from Nano owners about all of the problems they are having. I am going to post the information you have given to me on my website. I really hope you don’t lose your job. Have a good day.

Ecker writes, “Wow! Talk about a class act. Matt goes on to post the information on his website (taken down, but mirrored here) claiming that Apple’s official position on iPod nano scratching is ‘we’re screwing you and we don’t care!'”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple shares fall on iPod nano screen issues – September 28, 2005
Much-ballyhooed iPod nano screen concerns ‘a real but minor issue’ – September 28, 2005
Apple replaces iPod nano cracked screens; handful of units affected, WSJ: ‘barrage of complaints’ – September 28, 2005
Apple responds to iPod nano screen issues – September 27, 2005
iPod nano ‘screen issues’ really just FUD? – September 26, 2005 website alleging iPod nano ‘screen flaws’ hosted on Apple’s .Mac – September 26, 2005 editor: ‘The iPod nano is fast becoming Apple’s next Cube’ – September 26, 2005
Alleged problems surfacing with Apple iPod Nano screen – September 26, 2005
Site reports iPod nano screen failures – September 23, 2005
Thurrott: Apple iPod nano is almost perfect – September 23, 2005
Inside Apple’s iPod nano; how healthy are Apple’s margins? – September 22, 2005
CNET iPod nano review: ‘Sets new standards, stretches boundaries of tech, Apple’s done it again’ – September 16, 2005
The New York Times’ Pogue states iPod’s Law: the impossible is possible – September 14, 2005
Associated Press praises Apple iPod nano, takes swipe at Microsoft WMA-based also-ran music services – September 14, 2005
Apple’s music competition having tough time and the iPod nano won’t help them – September 14, 2005
One of big stars at Microsoft’s PDC show: Apple’s iPod nano; Microsoft reps ‘in awe’ – September 14, 2005
Piper Jaffray: Apple seeing high demand for iPod nano – September 14, 2005
Australian IT: Apple iPod nano ‘a little bar of techno-joy’ – September 14, 2005
Apple iPod nano takes a beating and keeps on beating – September 12, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano: The ‘thin lady’ sings unwelcome iTune to competitors – September 09, 2005
Hands on with Apple iPod nano – September 09, 2005
Mossberg: Apple iPod nano ‘beautiful, incredibly thin, and exceeds Apple’s performance specs’ – September 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Jupiter analyst Gartenberg: ‘the market is going to go for Apple iPod nano in a big way’ – September 07, 2005
Analyst: iPod nano ‘could be Apple’s next home run’ – September 07, 2005
Video of Steve Jobs introducing iPod nano, ROKR iTunes phone now available online – September 07, 2005
Apple’s Steve Jobs predicts ultra-thin iPod nano ‘will become the highest volume iPod in the world’ – September 07, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Apple introduces iPod nano – September 07, 2005


  1. I think this guy is just getting off on all the attention he seems to have drummed up by doing this. His attack on the Apple employee was ridiculous. He really just needs to get over himself. Sometimes, with mass produced products, there are problems. Nothing new here. His real problem seems to be that Apple didn’t fix it fast enough for him. Anyone who has worked for a large company knows that the bigger the company, the longer it takes to figure out what has happened in a situation like this.

    The funny thing is, now he’s taking credit for having “forced” Apple to address the issue.

  2. Let’s face facts. The guy is simply a prick trying to make a name for himself. What he’s doing is no different that what those two idiots in NY did when they vandalized iPod ads because they were ticked about their iPod batteries. His 15 minutes was just about up anyway, so it’s about time that he and his site went away.

    Any normal person would have simply went to the Apple Store, showed them the damaged nano, and took home his free replacement and been happy with that. But this asslick wanted some personal recognition out of the whole deal, so he decided to get public about it. The internet is full of those types these days and the best we can do is just to ignore them so they’ll eventually crawl back under the rock from which they came.

  3. Wow! this has to be a joke. I can’t believe people are STILL making a big deal out of this.

    “…I have never seen a scratched iBook or PowerBook…”

    Of course the floor models for the iBooks don’t look like the iPods. People don’t pick them up and handle them like they do the iPods.

    “I have a white iPod and a mini and neither of them scratch like this…”

    First of all, you can’t compare the mini with the nano because the mini is aluminum. Second, I’m sure your white iPod scratched Just as easily as your Nano (so lightly I might add judging from your photo). You probably didn’t notice it at first because it’s white and not black like your nano and you’re probably noticing your Nano’s scratches now because of all of this insanity. Honestly, was this a concern for you before Mathew Peterson set up his narcissistic website and dolts like him started flooding the Apple forums?

    I normally don’t get all riled up about things like this. I’m not some mac elitist out to protect Apple no matter what. If this was a real concern, then yes, apple should do something about it. But its not real. I just can’t stand it when alarmist hyterics get out of control like this. Maybe it is FUD (read this entertaining opinion article:
    But more than likely this is just another example of how people who LOVE to complain about anything will jump on the band wagon as quick as they can to cry “Me too! Me too!”

  4. To David, I realize that black shows imperfections more than white, but my main concern is the screen. My white iPod DOES NOT have those marks, and it is two years old.

    The scuff marks on my Nano are from cleaning with a tissue paper.

    Look again at the photo, especially the menu part where it says Podcasts, you can see how it is difficult to read, it is also very noticeable when viewing photos. The hairline scratches begin to turn white and look like sandpaper was rubbed across the display.

    All im saying is I haven’t had this problem with my other iPod screens and it does not seem right that a tissue should do this. And I certainly don’t think that I’m being un-reasonable to expect more from Apple.

  5. No such thing as bad publicity: the UK’s BBC news carried this item as number 3 on the main evening news…
    Started with about 70% of the nano TV advert and later showed a guy going into the Regent St store with a bust iPod (not a nano) and he said he was getting replaced and it was so cool he wouldn’t be without it!

    Share drop = buying opportunity.

  6. I will preface this by saying that I believe that Matthew had a legitimate issue and wasn’t treated properly on his initial contact with Apple. However, Apple did replace his unit and they appear to be taking care of the problem now.

    But I get the distinct impression that Matthew now sees himself as a new Michael Moore. Sorry Matthew, but one Michael Moore is enough.

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